Published by: Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG)
# of Players: 2 to 5
AEG has a great track record with great visuals in their games. Fantahzee shows that reputation is still fully intact. I really enjoyed the cartoon fantasy style of the game. Every thing is very colorful, but also easy to read and understand. The rule book is very well constructed and provides details on how to play and shows colorful examples. The cards are thick and have a glossy coating which will handle lots of playing. The box is very thick and colorful, but what is inside makes the difference. Inside contains an excellent insert that provides space for everything in the game and an area for future expansions. The game also comes with a dice bag to hold the dice. The dice themselves are the one component that is a disappointment. The dice are lightweight plastic and feel cheap. Though disappointing, the quality of the dice is a minor issue and does not detract from an otherwise well put together game.
Fantahzee is mix of many mechanics. The main essence of Fantahzee is that you assembling a team of up to 5 heroes and rolling dice to activate them. Once activated they will combine their strength to defeat monsters in the 5 horde stacks. Monsters will have a chance to counterattack you and also ambush you for damage. Defeating monsters awards experience points and treasure. After 3 boss monsters have been defeated, the game will be over and whoever has the most experience points wins the game.
At the start of the game, 5 stacks of hordes will be placed in the center of the table. To the left of the stacks will be the hero deck and to the right of the stacks will be the town cards. The horde stack that is closest to the town cards is called the Vanguard. If left undefeated after a player takes their turn, that player must take a town card that may have a negative impact and also symbolizes part of the town being destroyed. Monster cards come in 3 forms. Level 1 monsters, Level 2 monsters, and boss monsters. Each stack will have 1 boss monster mixed with the level 2 monsters. 6 level 1 monsters will be placed on top of each of the stacks to form 12 cards in each stack. A monster card shows it's strength to defeat it in the upper left corner. A player must meet or exceed the strength to defeat that monster. In the upper hand corner is an icon that shows the level of the monster. A 1 or 2 treasure icons may be shown in the bottom left corner to show a reward for defeating a monster. The bottom right corner shows how much experience you get from defeating the monster. Under the picture is the name of the monster and any abilities that it may have. I will explain those later on.
Each player takes separate turns going clockwise. This will keep going till 3 boss monsters have been defeated and each player has had an equal number of turns. Each turn consists of 4 phases. The first phase is the action phase. During this phase, you will be able to recruit up to 2 heroes to your party. This is done by playing a hero card from your hand and adding it your team in front of you. If your party already has 5 heroes, you must first discard a hero before adding the new one. During the action phase you can also play up to 2 action cards to help during this turn. After the turn is over they will go to the discard pile. The next phase is the dice phase. During this phase you will take 5 dice and roll them. You will have the option to reroll any number of dice up to 2 times like in Yahtzee. You will use the dice to activate the heroes in your party and activate any abilities they may have. Each hero has different dice requirements and some can be activated from steam. Steam is earned from the abilities of other activated heroes. The goal for your party is to build an engine that requires the least amount of dice rolling luck, the ability to activate all 5 members, and have a lot of strength. Once you have activated your heroes, you will total up their strength and choose which monsters to defeat. Each horde stack has one face up monster on top. If you defeat the top monster on a stack, you have the option to reveal the next one and attack it, but it must be your next target and if you can not defeat it, you will stop for the turn. After you have finished defeating monsters, you will total up the counterattack from the monsters you have defeated this turn. You will take damage equal to their strength. Characters may have shield values which lower the enemy's strength. You must discard heroes based on the cards strength till you meet or exceed the strength of counterattack. After that has been resolved you will claim any treasure from monsters you defeated. Each treasure card has a level 1 ability and level 2 ability. Which level you get to attach to an activated hero is based on the treasure icon from the defeated monster. Each hero can only have 1 treasure card attached.
When I received Fantahzee in the mail, I thought it was going to be another generic fantasy card game. I was wrong, the game played very different than a lot of the fantasy theme games out on the market today. Fantahzee was a blend of Machi Koro/Dominion with Yahtzee wrapped around it. The engine building with your team came off very smooth and had various types of strategies you could go for. The art is great to look at and will attract people to the table. The quality of the dice is disappointing but I have been told that it is being looked into. The game plays pretty quickly and is very easy to teach to everyone. Most players will understand how to play after 1 or 2 turns. The game offers simplicity to those who are younger or haven't played many games, but also provides enough different strategies to entertain gamers. Right now there is lots of variety in heroes, but not in the monsters you will face. Players also have to deal with the luck of what monsters are face up or revealed. The dice randomness is kept to a minimum due to the different abilities and engines that mitigate a lot of the issue. i had a blast playing Fantahzee and would lump it in with Machi Koro, Dice City and other similar weight games. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the fantasy theme and/or enjoys engine building games. This is staying in my collection and look forward to seeing more added to it.
+ Colorful, eye catching art
+ Unique blend of Dice City and Yahtzee
+ Easy to teach and play
+A good amount of different engines to build
- Limited variety of monsters
- Some will dislike generic fantasy theme
Disclaimer: I am part of the AEG Vanguard Demo Team. Being part of this team did not impact my opinion of the game in any way. The views and opinions in this review are my own.